Local woman says yoga helped her recover from stroke

Thursday, July 12, 2018
A local woman who suffered a life-threatening medical problem says yoga has helped her recover and keep going.

She's a yoga instructor and she was afraid she wouldn't be able to practice yoga again, but over time she realized she's much stronger - physically and emotionally than she thought.

She shares her story, hoping to inspire other people battling chronic medical problems.

Lisa O'Rear seems to be the picture of health, but inside Priya hot yoga, those who take her class know she's not your typical yogi.

"To know that she is coming from that background is pretty inspiring," said Sasha Certo-Ware from West Philadelphia.

You see 7 years ago, at just 34 years old, Lisa suffered a rare and severe stroke.

"I was scared, I was very scared," she recalled. "I had severe pain in my neck, in my head and I was very dizzy and nauseous, losing balance."

It left her with no true feeling on the left side and at times, chronic pain.

"It almost is like a sunburn on the inside," she said.

But Lisa was determined to not let her stroke define her. After treatment and months of physical therapy, she turned back to yoga.

"Of course I was a lot slower, I had to take a lot of breaks but it saved me," she said.

Even now, she still can't feel the left side of her body the same as she used to, so she focuses on and teaches about proper body alignment. It helped her and helps others gain strength, flexibilty and balance.

"I think the practice just pulls you back into yourself and that helps you stand a little taller and feel a little stronger," said Kasey Meehan from Center City.

"You have to have the mindset that you have the power to change and to better your situation and that every breath you take is another opportunity to begin again and that's a lot of opportunities," said Lisa.

Lisa says she still has her bad days, but she focuses on what she can do. She also warns others if you feel like something isn't right with your body and symptoms are getting worse or not going away, don't delay - get treatment right away.

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